The Republican Party is an absolute mess and we’re starting to reap the benefits.
While the GOP has spent Obama’s entire presidency attempting to do nothing to help the country, they’ve recently taken it so far that they hardly bother to show up at the Capitol at all. This is creating some really, really stupid problems.
It’s easy to see why House Speaker Paul Ryan was reluctant to take the job because one of the unenviable tasks he’s expected to do is to somehow trick the hundreds of Republican lawmakers he leads into actually doing their jobs once in a while. It’s not easy.
Recently, an increasingly frustrated Ryan even told Congress that they needed to make more of an effort to show up on time for legislative votes. The process is supposed to take 15 minutes, but with lawmakers slowly trickling in when they feel like it, oftentimes it can go on for an eternity. (If you’re getting the sense that lawmakers are behaving worse than high school students dragging their feet to homeroom, you’re not the only one.) The lack of urgency means Congress hardly gets anything done.
“Members should be reminded, members should attempt to come to the floor within the 15-minute period as prescribed by the first ring of the bells. All sides of the aisle,” Ryan said.
“As a point of courtesy to each of your colleagues, voting within the allotted time would help with the maintenance of the institution. The chair appreciates the members’ attention to this matter,” he said with a smile.
Apparently, nobody listened, least of all Ryan’s fellow Republicans.
When it came time for Republicans to vote on a measure meant to derail Obama’s historic nuclear deal with Iran, over 130 lawmakers, mostly Republicans, were visibly absent. It appears that voting for a thing they themselves had introduced had slipped their minds. An unhappy Ryan slammed down his gavel after 15 minutes and abruptly ended voting which vacated the tally due to insufficient votes.
How big of a screw up was this for Republicans? The window to truly derail Obama’s Iranian deal closed with Ryan’s gavel. They blew it. Instead, Secretary of State John Kerry says America will begin upholding its obligations to the deal starting in a matter of days, barring any setbacks from Iran.
“Implementation day, which is the day on which Iran proves that it has sufficiently downsized its nuclear program and can begin to receive sanctions relief, is going to take place very soon, likely within the next coming days somewhere.”
In a supreme irony, many Republican lawmakers were probably catching up on sleep after spending last night giving breathless interviews disingenuously spreading the lies that Iran was holding American Navy service members hostage. As usual, their lofty rhetoric doesn’t match their actions. If Iran was really so dangerous and they cared so much for the troops, would skipping this vital vote really be an option?
Yet another example that the dysfunction in Washington stems largely from the Republican Party. As the right-wing movement continues to become swallowed by anti-government extremists who were once considered the radical fringe, even doing the jobs you were elected to do – say, pass legislation – can paint you as a “RINO.” Instead, many Republican lawmakers try their best to destroy the government from the inside by willfully throwing wrenches into the works. But as we’ve seen, this “scorched earth” approach can backfire. During those times when Republicans actually do want to accomplish something, they fall apart. We see it here.
Another Republican chance to hurt Obama goes down in flames by a needless unforced error due to stupidity, apathy, and laziness. What a legacy this Congress is building for itself. Republicans ought to be so proud.
Feature image via io9